Real-life Tony Soprano inspiration enjoying Witness Protection life in Houstonsued over Baby Dolls strip club
To those who posit that outing a former mob boss living in hiding in the Witness Protection Program might not be the best of ideas, we say hell hath no fury like a woman cheated out of her cut of a strip club.
What's that you say? Harris County woman Lisa Hansegard has filed suit against one James Cabella for cutting her out of a shared strip joint she hired him to manage.
Cabella, a former mobster-slash-informant who apparently lives comfortably in hiding on Memorial Drive, allegedly cut Hansegard out of the (misleadingly named) Baby Dolls Boutique strip club after she hired him on as manager.
Hansegard acquired control of the club in 2006 from the estate of her late partner, who died while she was pregnant with his child (it was actually passed down to the kid). Cabella, meanwhile, had been operating a similar venue, The Penthouse Club, just across the street. The two decided to form a corporation with Cabella as manager and Hansegard personally funding the purchase of Baby Dolls for $835,000 in a sale overseen by the probate court.
Cabella, a former mobster-slash-informant who apparently lives comfortably in hiding on Memorial Drive, allegedly cut Hansegard out of the (misleadingly named) Baby Dolls Boutique strip club.
Shortly after the sale, Cabella allegedly began denying Hansegard access to the building and denying her funds from the business. The two reached an agreement in 2007 for Cabella to purchase Hansegard's interests in the business for $1.3 million, but the Cabella family made only two payments of $2,500.
Sometime during these negotiations, Hansegard uncovered Cabella's history as a mobster and informant in the DeCavalcante organized crime family of New Jersey (the real-life inspiration for The Sopranos), and that his real name was Vincent Palermo. The lawsuit states that Hansegard would never have gone into business with Cabella had she known of his background (shocking!), and it didn't help that Cabella had allegedly been funneling Baby Dolls funds into the (assumedly competing) Penthouse Club.
The "Cabella" family went on to shut down Baby Dolls completely. Look for this one on Law and Order.